As a plus size woman fighting for size acceptance I had real mixed feelings in 2015 about the excitement generated by Ashley Graham, the first plus-sized model ever seen in the annual swimsuit edition of the Sports Illustrated magazine. On one hand, it was great that a size 16 woman was being featured in this bastion of sexy, size 0 swimwear models. However, it was hard for me to get excited if the only reason she was in the magazine was because she was in an ad that shows off her provocative curves and skimpy (albeit beautiful) swimwear.
But, now I am even more excited because Ashley has been on the 2016 cover of Sports Illustrated and is featured in many beautiful fashion ads (including Lane Bryant) and owns her own fashion line. She’s a beautiful, well-spoken woman who has become a successful plus size fashion model who actively promotes body acceptance by plus size women. Too bad she continually has to be exposed to body shaming including by fellow SI model Cheryl Tiegs. Tiegs later retracted her comments that a woman’s waist should be smaller than 35 inches.
Yes, society is finally getting the point that beauty comes in all sizes. I would be even more excited and feel like we plus size women have waged an even bigger victory if a plus size woman was also featured in the editorial content about her sports victory. Yes, there are plus size athletes. And yes, they do win!
But until that happens, I join the other millions of men and women who are saying “You go girl!” to Ashley Graham who shows that sexy doesn’t stop at size 0.
Editor’s note: Image of Ashley Graham is from her website www.ashleygrapham.com